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Dan M. Healan Janet M. Kerley George J. Bey III
Tulane University New Orleans, Louisiana
Previoussurveyof the Toltecsite of Tula, Hidalgo, Mexico, revealedwhat is believedto have been a zone of obsidianworkshops withinthe EarlyPostclassic city. TulaneUniversity conductedexcavationof part of one topographiccomplexwithinthe zone, revealinga workshop complexconsistingof a linear arrangement residentialcompounds, of peripheralrefusedumps, and open workareas, the latter tentatively identifiedby microscopicanalysis of soil samples. Over500,000 pieces of obsidianwere recovered,revealing an exclusivelycorelbladeindustrythat imported percussionmacrocores from at least two differentsources and producedprismaticblade cores, blades, and certainbladeproducts. The reductionsequenceand differencesin the processingof obsidianfrom differentsources are well documented. Ceramic and stratigraphic data suggest the locality was originallymarginalland settled relativelyearly in Tula's history,possibly by immigrants from the Basin of Mexico.
Introduction The study of prehistoric obsidian exploitation is a relatively new and multifaceted area of research covering a variety of topics that include reconstruction of regional exchange networks, reduction technology, and archaeological investigation of lithic reduction sites including both quarry and non-quarry workshops. Obsidian workshops have been identifed in many prehistoric communities largely on the basis of anomalous surface concentrationsof obsidian debitage and other artifacts. Their identification has played a major role in assessing the importance of obsidian exploitation in prehistoric economic systems as well as in reconstructing such systems. Unfortunately, much of the archaeological investigation of obsidian workshops has been restricted to surface survey or limited test-pitting, despite obvious benefits of large-scale excavation for technological, functional, and chronological study, as well as for providing information about domestic, social, and other non-technological realms of workshop activity. In Mesoamerica, it is apparent from many lines of research that control of the exploitation of various resources, including obsidian, played a key role in shaping
the courseof prehispanic culturaldevelopment.In Central Mexico there appearsto have been a successionof powerfulcentersthat controlledsystems for the exploitationof resources includedMiddleFormative that Chalcatzingo,'possiblyLateFormative Cuicuilco,and Classic periodTeotihuacan. Teotihuacan of particular is interest becauserecentresearchhas demonstrated its econthat omy was inextricably to obsidianexploitation.2 tied The EarlyPostclassicperiodhas been a notablegap in current knowledgeabout this patternof succession, which has up to now been filled by speculation Tula, the domthat inantcenterin Central Mexico duringthe EarlyPostclas1. David Grove, KennethHirth, David Buge, and Ann Cyphers, "Settlement Cultural and Development Chalcatzingo," at Science 192 (1976) 1203-1210; Kenneth Hirth,"Interregional Tradeandthe Formationof Prehistoric GatewayCommunities," AtnAnt43 (1978) 3545.
2. MichaelSpence, "The Obsidian Industry Teotihuacan," of AtnAnt 32 (1967) 507-514; idem, "ObsidianProduction and the State at Teotihuacan," AtnAnt46 (1981) 769-788; ReneMillon, Urbanization at Teotihuacan, Mexico: The Teotihuacan Map l (University of Texas Press;Austin 1973) 45-46; ThomasCharlton,''Teotihuacan, Tepeapulco, and ObsidianExploitation," Science 200 (1978) 1227-1236.
128 Excavationof an ObsidianWorkshop Tula,Mexico/Healan, in Kerley, and Bey
Table 1. Provisional chronology of the Tula region. PERIOD
A .C . 1600
Late Postclassic (Second Intermediate phase 3 and Late Horizon)
1300 Fuego 1200
Early Postclassic (Second Intermediate phase 2)
Figure 1. Landform map of Central Mexico, showing the location of Tula with respect to the Classic period site of Teotihuacan and three obsidian sources expoited by Tula: 1, Pachuca (Cruz del Milagro), Hidalgo; 2, Otumba, Mexico; 3, Zinapecuaro, Michoacan.
sic, inherited the obsidian exploitation system previously controlled by Teotihuacan.3 This paper is a preliminary report of the excavation and analysis of an obsidian core/blade workshop located in what was probably a larger workshop zone at Tula. The excavation involved extensive exposure of a single workshop complex, and the artifact analysis is unusual in the sheer quantity of workshop debitage plus other artifacts recovered in situ. The report is preliminary in nature, since much of the analysis and interpretationis still in progress. Background Tula is located in sw Hidalgo about 70 km. NW of Mexico City (FIG. 1).4 The site incorporates the alluvial bottoms and adjacent uplands of the Tula and Rosas Riv3. Michael Spence and Jeffrey Parsons, "Prehispanic Obsidian Exploitation in Central Mexico: A Preliminary Synthesis,'' MichMusAnth 43 (1972) 29; Charlton, op. cit. (in note 2) 1235; Lee Parsons and Barbara Price, ''Mesoamerican Trade and its Role in the Emergence of Civilization,9' Contributions of the University of California Archaeological Research Facility (CARFC) 11 (1971) 188; Robert Zeitlin, "Towards a More Comprehensive Model of Interregional Commodity Distribution: Political Variables and Prehistoric Obsidian Procurement in Mesoamerica," AmAnt 47 (1982) 270. 4. Adapted from Landforms of Mexicos Prepared for the GeographAt Branch of the Office of Naval Researchs by Erwin Raisz (Cambridge
Epiclassic (Second Intermediate phase l) Prado
ers and the moderntown of Tula de Allende (FIG. 2).5 Ethnohistorical research W. Jiminez-Moreno exby and tensive archaeologicalexplorationby J. Acosta7have
5. Sources: James Stoutamire, ''Trend Surface Analysis of Archaeological Survey Data from Tula, Hidalgo, Mexico," unpublishedPh.D. dissertation, University of Missouri-Columbia ( 1975) figs. 5-10; Juan Yadeun Angulo, "E1 Estado y la Ciudad: E1 Caso de Tulae Hgo.," Coleccion Cientifica 25 (INAH 1975) figs. 17, 25-32; Alejandro PastranaCruz, "Produccion de Instrumentos en Obsidiana-Division del Trabajo," unpublished thesis, Escuela Nacional de Antropologia e Historia (=E.N.A.H.) (Mexico D.F. 1977); Enrique Nalda and Alejandro Pastrana, 'Una Proposicion para la Investigacion de los "Talleres de Litica" en Tula, Hgo.," in 'wProyectoTula, Segunda Parte,'' EduardoMatos Moctezuma, ed., Coleccion Cientifica 33 (INAH 1976) 75-83. 6. Wigberto Jiminez-Moreno, ''Tula y los Toltecas Segun las Fuentes Historicos, " Revista Mexicana de Estudios Antropo/ogicos 5 ( 1941) 79-83. 7. Jorge Acosta, ';InteIpretacion de Algunos Datos Obtenidos en Tula
10, Journalof Field ArchaeologylVol. 1983 129
X\Sl"f"fovo C- V ol
Figure 2. The archaeological zone of Tula, Hidalgo, as determined by the University of Missouri and INAH surface surveys. A more detailed map of the area east of E1 Salitre (box) is presented in Figure 3.
A IIe n d e
1 M I0 n h a
provided persuasive evidence that the site constitutes the ruins of Tollan, legendary capital of the Toltec empire between the 10th and 12th centuries A.C.8Recently, Tula was the subject of two extensive archaeological research projects, conducted by the Instituto Nacional de Antropologia e Historia (INAH) of Mexico9 and the University
Relativos a la Epoca Tolteca,'' Rerista Mexicana de Estudios Antropologicos 14, segunda parte (1956-1957) 75-110. Acosta also published detailed summaries of his field seasons at Tula, which are listed in the bibliography of Supplement to the Alandbookof Middle American lndians, Volume 2, Victoria Bricker and Jeremy Sabloff, eds. (University of Texas Press: Austin 1981) . 8. Pedro Armillas, "Teotihuacan, Tula, y los Toltecas," Runa 3 (1950) 37-70; Lawrence Feldman, ''Tollan in Hidalgo: Native Accounts of the Central Mexican Tolteca," in ''Studies of Ancient Tollan," Richard Diehl, ed., University of Missouri Monographs in Anthropology 1 (1974) 130-149; Nigel Davies, The Toltecs Until the Fall of Tula (Oklahoma 1977). 9. Eduardo Matos Moctezuma, ed., "Proyecto Tula, Primera Parte," Coleccion Cientifica 15 (INAH 1974); Matos Moctezuma, op. cit. (in note 5).
of Missouri,'°which have greatlyamplifiedour knowlstructure. Cobeanhas edge of Tula'shistoryandinternal recentlyprovideda revised ceramicchronologyfor the Tula area (TABLE 1)ll based upon the Missouriproject's urbansurvey, and the residentialexcavations and selected test pits of the INAH project. Data from both projectsindicate that Tula was originally a relatively modest settlementsome 3-5 sq. km. in area that was centeredaroundTula Chico, a smallerversion of Tula Grande,the political-religiouscenter of the later city (FIG. 2). Duringthe Tollanphaseof the EarlyPostclassic expansivegrowth,and period(TABLE 1), Tulaunderwent
10. Diehl, ed., op. cit. (in note 8); ''Tula," in Bricker and Sabloff, op. cit. (in note 7) 277-295. 11. Robert Cobean, ''The Pre-Aztec Ceramics of Tula, Hidalgo," unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, Harvard University (Cambridge 1978) fig. 4. We have modified Cobean's period designations by including in parentheses an alternate scheme proposed by the 1972 Valley of Mexico Conference; cf. Eric Wolf, The Valley of Mexico (New Mexico 1976) fig. 16.
130 Excavationof an ObsidianWorkshop Tula,MexicolHealan, in Kerley, and Bey
during its apogee encompassed an area of about 12 sq.
The importance of obsidian to Tula is evident in the frequency with which obsidian artifacts, chiefly prismatic blade fragments,l3 are encountered among the debris that litters the site's surface. This is no less evident in in situ deposits, given that over 25,000 obsidian artifacts, again principally fragments of prismatic blades, were recovered by the Missouri project's excavation of a series of residental compounds. 14Prismatic blade cores from Tula have a distinctive type of platform which has been ground or abraided to a flat surface with a texture like ground glass. 15Tula lies only about 70 km. west of the Pachuca or Cruz del Milagro obsidian source (FIG.1), an important source of obsidian for Mesoamerican corel blade industries and which was the major source exploited by Teotihuacan during the Classic period. This distinctive clear green obsidian is also the predominant source represented at Tula.16 A significant result of the recent research at Tula was the discovery of several areas of high surface concentration of obsidian artifact debris around a brackish marsh (El Salitre) and an adjacent elongated hill (Cerro El Cielito) in the eastern portion of the site. As shown in Figure 2,17 there are three major concentrations: one along the
12. Stoutamire, cit. (in note 5). op 13. Prismatic blades, also called "fine blades," are unusually regular, parallel-sided blades with a commonlytrapezoidal cross section removed pressure by fromequallydistinctive,finely flutedcylindrical cores. For a discussionof ethnohistorical accountsof prismatic blade production well as modernreplicativeexperiments, Don Crabas cf tree, "Mesoamerican Polyhedral CoresandPrismatic Blades,"AmAnt 33 (1968) 446-478; Charles Fletcher,"Escapable Error Employing in Ethnohistory Mesoamerica," in AmAnt 35 (1970) 209-213; Payson SheetsandGuy Muto, ''Prismatic BladesandTotalCuttingEdge:An Experiment LithicTechnology," in Science 175 (1972) 632-634; John Clark, "Manufacture Mesoamerican of PrismaticBlades: An AlternativeTechnique,"AmAnt 47 (1982) 355-376 14 Alice Benfer, "A Preliminary Analysisof the ObsidianArtifacts fromTula, Hidalgo," in Diehl, ed, op. cit. (in note 8) 56-87. 15. At least some of these ''ground"platformsare actuallynatural cortexsurfaces 16. Stoutamire, cit (in note 5) 41-42. op. 17. Thereis disagreement amongthe varioussurveys(cf. note 5) on thenature thesesurface of concentrations. Stoutamire's surveydefined a single, largeconcentration coversvirtually of the areanorth, that all south, and east of E1 Salitre. The alternative definitionof distinct concentrations suggestedby Nalda and Pastrana's was interpretation of Yadeun'ssurveydataand by Pastrana's resurveyof the area;the lattersurveys,however,disagreeon the precisenumber,location,and extentof theseconcentrations. Basedon informal survey,Healan agrees thatdistinctconcentrations rather thana continuous distribution exists in the area. The concentrations depictedin Figure2 are approximations intendedto reconcile the major differencesamong the latter surveys.
northflank of El Salitre, anotheralong its east flank, anda thirdimmediately of CerroEl Cielito. During east the sumrner 1978, Healanmade an informalreconof naissanceof the "east flank" concentration discovand ered within it localized concentrations of obsidian, utilitarian sherds, and architectural stone frequently associated with low topographicrises indicativeof collapsed structures. Thus the "east flank" concentration, and probably othersas well, seeminglyrepresents the a series of distinctworkshopsites; in otherwords, a zone of obsidianworkshops withinthe city whereina number of artificers both lived and worked. Duringthe summerof 1980, TulaneUniversityconductedexcavationsat a single locality within the "east flank" concentration (FIG. 3). The excavationswere directed by Healan and sought to provide extensive exposureof one workshopcomplex. The excavationand subsequent analysiswas intendedto satisfy four goals: 1) verification the existenceof an obsidianworkshop of and delineationof its structure; recovery of a sub2) stantialpart of the workshoplithic assemblagefor determination input, output,and reductiontechnology; of 3) recoveryof datapertaining domesticandothernonto technological realmsof workshop activity;4) diachronic studyof the development obsidianworkshopproducof tion at Tula throughstratigraphic excavation. Field Methods The localityselectedfor excavationis locatednearthe center of the "east flank" concentration a modern in agricultural (FIGS. 2, 3). The localitycontainsseveral field low ridges or longitudinalmounds littered with stone typicalof collapsedstructures, otherwiseratherlow but frequencies surfaceartifacts.Conversely,little buildof ing stonebut very high surfaceconcentrations obsidiof an and sherdswere found in the low areasbetweenthe ridges. Healandecidedto expose a continuousareaextendingfromthe top of the largestridge (ridgeA) to the adjacent interridge area(FIGS. 3, 4) in orderto samplethe full rangeof topographic surfaceartifactdiversity. and As seen in Figure4, we used 3-m. squaresexcavated in 10-cm. levels that were subdividedhorizontally and/ or verticallywhen necessaryto separatedifferentdepositional contexts. We plannedto expose only the first components occupation of encountered belowthe surface in orderto maximizehorizontal ratherthanverticalexposure. At the same time, however, a series of 1-m. squarepits normallyplaced in the NE cornerof every other squarewere excavatedto sterile depositsin order to recoverdatapertaining earliercomponents. to Considerable effortwas madeto recoversoil samples from the variousfloors and other surfacesand depositional featuresencountered excavation,in the belief in
Journal of Field ArchaeologylVol. 10, 1983
Figure 3. Map of area of high surface concentration along the east flank of E1 Salitre, showing the location of the workshop complex excavated by Tulane University.
obsidian microthat microscopicmaterial,particularly debitage, would be useful in identifyingthe actualobsidianworksites andotheractivityareas.A preliminary of examination soil sampleswas undertaken microscopic with in the field using a Wild M-5 stereomicroscope magnificationof up to 50x. Furtherstudy is planned using better techniques of sample preparation and examination. E1 muchof the areaaround Salitrehas Unfortunately, been underintensivetractorcultivationfor over a decgreaterdamageto ade, and therehas been considerably depositsthan expected;much of the the archaeological damagewas foundto be the resultof very recentchisel plowing. In 1979 Healan learned that a governmentchisel plows in the was introducing sponsoredprogram depositsof caliche, and Tulaareato breakup subsurface in withthiseventuality mind. the field seasonwas planned far Chiselplowingin this area,however,occurred ahead of schedule(ironically,only aboutthree weeks priorto the startof our excavationt).Chisel scars covered the entirefield in a crisscrosspattern,spacedat roughly 1-
m. intervals (FIG. 5), and penetrated almost a full meter below the surfacegDespite the obviously extensive damage to the subsurface deposits, we decided to continue excavation for two reasons: fortunately, the archaeological deposits were sufficiently thick that at least part had escaped the chisel plow, and below the tractorplow zone the chisel scars were easily detected and cleaned out to avoid stratigraphic contamination of the lower levels. Hence we were able to overcome some of the major problems posed by the chisel plowing, but at considerable cost in time and resources, since it required excavating much deeper than planned in some areas (cf. FIG. 8). It appears that none of the "east flank" concentration escaped the chisel plow, and it is not likely that the other concentrations did either. We regret not having been able to excavate at least one season earlier. Delineation of the Workshop Complex
The artifacts and features encountered confirm that the
132 Excavationof an ObsidianWorkshop Tula,MexicolHealan, in Kerley, and Bey
Figure4. Plan of the obsidianworkshop complexexcavatedby Tulane University.
locality had been an obsidianworkshop.The necessity of deeperexcavationrestricted degree of lateralexthe posure that had been planned;nevertheless,there was sufficientexposureto sample a large part of one ridge and interridgesystem and parts of adjacentareas. The complexwas a rather dispersed affair,containing distinct habitation, obsidian-working, refuse-dumping and areas (FIG. 4), each of which is describedbelow. Underlying entireexcavationwas a horizonof tan, the sterileclay (FIG. 5), which apparently comprisedthe surface of the locality at the time of initialoccupation.The surfaceof this clay was scarredby erosionalchannels
andotherfeaturesof weathering (FIG. 6) thatindicatethe clay horizon had lain exposed before the locality was occupied.This is also indicatedby the fact thatartifactrich refuse soils and structural remainslay directlyon and were partiallyembeddedin the clay surface.
Ridge A was an entirelyartificialaccumulation suof perposedstructures fill (FIG. 5). The ridge was apand parentlyan accretionalfeature, which is to say it was not a purposefulterraceor platform,but ratherthe ac-
Journal of Field ArchaeologylVol. 10, 1983
wrclwn scindy icicim
ccimpcict hrclwn Icicim plsIster f ccir
Figure 5. Simplified stratigraphic transect of the workshop complex seen in Figure 4.
Figure6. The tan clay horizon,exposed immediately northof Structure looking south. The extremelyerodednatureof the clay II, surfaceis seen in foreground; of an apparently half circular refuse pit is seen at top.
cumulation of localized structural renovation and collapse. The earliest structures were erected on the clay surface, over which artifact-rich fill, predominantly workshop and domestic refuse, was placed as a base for later structures. As many as three distinct, superposed structures were noted in some profiles. Invariably, only traces of the uppermost structuresremained; we elected, therefore, to expose earlier structuralremains which we hoped had escaped much of the destruction of plowing (FIG. 7). Excavation to lower levels produced remains of three structures (FIGS. 4, 8) designated I-III. Both Structures I and II underlay traces of later structures, and Structure III underlay a cobblestone surface that may have been a paved thoroughfare. Because of limitations of time and resources, all three of these structures were only partially exposed. StructuresI and II form part of a single complex comparable to residential compounds excavated by the Mis-
134 Excavationof an ObsidianWorkshop Tula,MexicolHealan,Kerley, and Bey in
these structures, only nominal amounts of obsidian, mostly fragments of prismatic blades and cores, were recovered from floors. In a superficial microscopic examination of floor samples from the structuresand open areas, Healan did not detect any concentrations of microdebitage that should have existed had obsidian been worked there with any regularity. Hence there is no evidence for obsidian working in the habitation area, though the debitage recovered from structural must have come fill from nearby. Refuse Dump In the area between ridges A and B (FIGS. 3, 4), high concentrations of obsidian and other artifacts were found that extended throughout the soil to the underlying clay horizon (FIG. 5). Since very little loose building stone and no architecturalremains were encountered, we conclude that this had been an open area; this circumstance is fortunate, since any structuralremains in the relatively thin soil here would have been destroyed. The clay surface was scarred by chisel plowing, but was otherwise well preserved. Its surface displayed numerous small, irregularchannels and rills, including a localized arroyo (FIG. 5), dating from when the clay horizon had lain exposed. In addition to these obvious erosional features, several large pits, the largest over 6 m. in diameter, were encountered (FIGS. 4, 5). These were filled with the same dark, artifact-richsoil that overlay them. Throughoutthis soil, the densities of artifacts, particularlyobsidian, were extremely high, in some cases averaging 60 pieces of obsidian per liter of earth removed. The majority of the artifacts recovered in our excavation came from these pits. Because of the artifact density here, we screened levels from selected pits and squares, using quarter-inch screen, and, as elsewhere in the excavation, soil samples were also taken for microscopic study. The pits were U-shaped or somewhat bell-shaped in cross section (FIG. 5), and measured a meter or more in depth. Their internal stratification was a complex pattern of localized bands, lenses, and amorphous pockets of artifact-richsoil and yellow clay. Artifact concentrations were highest in the lenses and pockets, which probably comprise individual loads of refuse. This consisted predominantly of obsidian, chiefly debitage from core/blade reduction (see below), but also large quantities of utilitarian sherds, animal bone, and other domestic refuse. It is importantto note that workshop and domestic refuse occurred mixed in the same deposits, and while densities of obsidian were high, there were no pure layers of obsidian comparable to waste piles seen at quarryor biface workshops. The regularity of the pits suggests they were artificial, perhaps source pits for clay used in construction which
Figure7. Habitation areaalong ridge A, lookingNE. The front(east end) of Structure faced with small-stoneveneeris seen in I foreground. workersare digging throughthe badlydamaged The remainsof a laterstructure (note metate on floor) to expose the earlier,better-preserved Structure I.
souriprojectl8 the Canallocality. Botharerectangular, at multiple-room structures erectedover low platforms, and they comparefavorablyto the most elegantstructures of the Canal locality by virtue of their plasterfloors and walls, their apparentspaciousness, and use of tabular small-stoneveneer as decorativefacing or lath for plaster. Unfortunately, bothhad sustained considerable damage, Structure fromchiselplowing(FIG.4) andStructure II I from laterbuildingactivitythat destroyedits southern margin.The two structures were separated a narrow, by open corridorwith a prepared clay floor that contained an open-trough drain. The clay floor extendedbeneath both structuresand into an open area to the east that probably comprised an open courtyardfor the compound.Structure is of less elegantconstruction, III consisting of stone-and-mud walls enclosing a compacted earthfloor withoutan underlyingplatform.It probably predatesStructures and II, given its lower elevation I and stratigraphic context (it was built directly on the underlyingclay horizon), but was probablypart of an earliercomplexthatincludedpreviousversionsof Structures I and II, remains of which were found beneath them. As yet no study has been made of the artifactsrecoveredfrom the floors of these three structures the or remains those thatoverlaythem, butthey wereclearly of domesticin function,given the occurrence whole and of fragmentary utilitarian vessels, metates, and hearthsin one or more of them. Despite ratherlarge quantitiesof obsidiandebitagerecoveredfrom fill incorporated into
18. Dan M. Healan, "Architectural Implicationsof Daily Life in AncientTollan, Hidalgo,Mexico," WA9 (1977) 140-156.
Journal of Field ArchaeologylVol. 10, 1983
Figure 8. Panorama of the habitation area along ridge A, looking NE. Structure II is seen in left background (note chisel scars); Structure I is in foreground, and Structure III is at the extreme right. Chisel scars can be seen in many of the profiles.
were laterused to discardrefuse. It seems unlikelythat obsidianwas worked at these dumps, though some of the bandeddeposits may representlocalized work surfaces. More likely, the work areas were located elsegiven the fact that nearthe habitations, where, probably domesticand workshoprefuse occur mixed in the same analysis,Healan stratigraphic strata.Duringpreliminary (other notedthatsome of the depositshadbeen disturbed thanby chisel plowing), and may representattemptsto retrievewaste obsidianfor re-use. Aress ObsidisnWork Where were the actual obsidianwork areas located? of microscopicexamination On the basis of preliminary soil samples, Healanbelieves that they were located in the area between the habitationsand the refuse dump. This area was only partiallyexposed by alternate3 m.
x 3 m. squares(FIG. 4), but it was clearlyan open area clay horizondisThe devoid of architecture. underlying played the same small erosional features noted elsewhere, but lackedlargerefuse pits, with one exception: circularpit, filled with obsidian a shallow, apparently fromberefuse, was foundprotruding andotherartifact II neaththe northside of Structure (FIGS. 4-6) along the south edge of this area. Aside from this pit, only moderate quantitiesof macroscopicobsidian debris were recoveredfrom this area;Healan, however, noted sigin nificantamountsof obsidianmicrodebitage soil samples from the top of the clay horizonand the overlying soil in this area. The existence of the refuse pits disthat cussedaboveindicates the workareaswereregularly so cleanedof debitageaccumulations, that an areawith large moderatevisible debitage and disproportionately would very likely represent amountsof microdebitage of the actual work area. Confirmation this hypothesis
Execavcltion canObsidism Workshopin Tuls, MexicolHecalcm, of Kerley, cmdBey
awaits more systematicexaminationof all of the floor and soil samplesrecoveredfrom the excavation.
All three of these general activity areas maintained functionalintegritythroughout prehispanicoccupathe tion. No structural remainswere found outsidethe habitation area, and continuous occupation in one area contributed the ridge buildup. Refuse dumpingwas to confined to the interridgerefuse dump, except for use as structural andonce the pits were filled, continued fill, dumpingcovered the interridgearea with the artifactrich soil seen today. Neitherthe habitation areanor the refuse dump encroachedupon the interveningarea we havetentatively identifiedas the obsidianworkarea.The integrityand continuityof activitiesin these areasindicate a relativelyformal organization that was followed throughout prehispanic the occupation. The presenceof residentialstructures and the mixed workshopanddomesticrefusedepositsdemonstrate that obsidianworkingtook place in a domesticsetting, as is probably typical of preindustrial societies. We noted abovethatthe structures partially exposed along ridgeA are similar in layout to those excavated at the Canal locality by the Missouriproject, and in fact the degree of similarityis striking.The structures the Canalloof cality comprisedthreeresidentialcompounds,including a small templeplatform,arranged side by side and connected by a public street as well as a closed system of passagewaysand alleys.l9 It is interestingto note that these collapsed compoundsformed a low ridge similar to ridge A, thoughlower, and like ridge A, remainsof earlierstructures were foundbeneaththe excavatedcompounds,which contributed the ridge effect. Healanis to certainthatridge A constitutesa similarlineararrangementof residential compounds,for severalreasons:scatteredarchitectural remainswere encountered two test in pits near the east end of the ridge, and we know that a prominent mound, probablya temple platform,existed near the west end of ridge A before it was destroyed abouta decadeago. Given the lengthof ridgeA, at least two juxtaposedcompounds plus the templeplatform had probablyexisted, and the paved surface that overlay Structure may have been partof a thoroughfare III that connectedthem. We are also certainthatridge B, locatedimmediately northof ridge A (FIG. 3), was comparable form, since in architectural remainserectedover artifact-rich structural fill were encountered two pits placedalongthis ridge, in and its surface was likewise litteredwith architectural stone.
19. Ibid. fig. 3.
ObsidianAnalysis GeneralComments With most of the tabulation complete,-wecan report that we recoveredover 650 kg. of obsidiannumbering over 500,000 pieces, including over 375,000 macroscopic pieces. Kerley is conductinga two-stage technological analysis of the obsidian recoveredfrom our excavations.The first stage, now near completion,has involved a sortingof the entire collection into a series of technologicalcategones (TAsLE<2);2° secondstage the will involve more detailedstudy throughattribute analysis of a sampleof each category.The categorieswere denved from previous studies of Mesoamerican corel blade technology,2lplus data obtainedduringHealans preliminaxy surface reconnaissance the localityin 1979. of Inevitably,new categones were createdand some existing ones subdividedor modified in the course of the preliminary sorting,22 results of which providethe the following generalizations.
20. It should be noted that Table 2 is a tentativetabulation,since about 10%of the obsidianfromour excavationshas not been sorted. We do not, however,expectthe relativefrequencies the categories of in Table2 to changesignificantly once the entirecollectionhas been analyzed We estimatethatthe totalcollectionwill compriseover 700 kg. of obsidiannumbering over 560,000 pieces Some of the categories listed in Table 2 have been modifiedfrom those used in the actualsorting. 21. ThomasHester,RobertJack, andRobertHeizer, '4TheObsidian of Tres Zapotes, Vera Cruz, Mexico,' CARFC13 (1971) 65- 131; PaysonSheets, "BehavioralAnalysis and the Structure a Prehisof toric Industry>'CA 16 (1975) 369-378; idem, "Part 1: Artifacts," in The Prehisotryof Chalchuapa,El Salvador, Volume2, Payson Sheets and BruceDahlin, eds. (Pennsylvania 1978) 2-131; Thomas Hester, "The ObsidianIndustry Beleh (Chinautla of Viejo), Guatemala,"Actasdel XLICongresoInternacional Americanistas, de VolumenI (MexicoD.F. 1975)473-488; JayJohnson,"Chippped Stone Artifacts fromthe Western MayaPeriphery," unpublished Ph.D. dissertation,Southern IllinoisUniversity(Carbondale 1976). 22. Both Healanand Kerley have had experiencein flintknapping, but we would not be overly modest in characterizing ourselvesas sophisticated novices. Nevertheless,our understanding the workof shop reductiontechnologyhas been greatly enhancedby our own replicative experiments blade/core in reduction, whicharecontinuing. It is important note thatthis work has involvedthe fabrication to of prismaticblade cores "from scratch";that is, formingpercussion cores from raw obsidiannodules, which are then further reducedby pressure becomeprismatic to bladecores. Muchof the previousreplicativeexperimentation concerning prismatic bladecorereduction has involved the use of sawn blocks of obsidianratherthan percussion cores for pressurereduction(cf. Crabtree, cit. [in note 13] and op. SheetsandMuto, op. cit. [in note 8]), whichdoes not yield the kinds of debitagetypicalof ourworkshop assemblage. JohnClarkfirstdemonstrated us thetechniques fabricating to of prismatic bladecoresfrom scratch,andwe gratefully acknowledge adviceandformalinstructhe tion in reducingpercussionmacrocores pressuregiven us by J. by JeffreyPlenniken,director the Washington of StateUniversityPlintknapping Field School, andGene Titmus.
Journal of Field ArchaeologylVol. 10, 1983 Table2. Preliminary tabulation obsidianartifacts of from the workshop complex. Percentages referonly to the macroscopic artifactcategories(A-W).
A. Macroblades 35 (0.01%) B . PlatformFaceting Flakes 56,988 ( l 5.19Wo) C. PercussionBlades 11,990 (3.19Wo) 1. whole 1,192 2. frag. 10,798 D. IrregularPressureBlades 203,647 (54.26Wo) 1. primarydecortication 17 2. secondarydecortication 6,661 3. first series- 10,401 a. whole 1,972 b. frag. 8,425 4. general 186,568 a. whole 2,824 b. frag. 183,744 E. PrismaticBlades 45,701 (12.18io) 1. whole 128 2. frag. 45,573 F. PrismaticBlade Errors 1,204 (0.32%) 1. plunging blades 983 2. bending fractures 190 3. miscl. 31 G. PrimaryCrested Blades 1,155 (0.31Wo) H. SecondaryCrested Blades 515 (0.14Wo) I. Blade Products 522 (0.14So) 1. trilobaleccentrics 446 a. whole 109 b. frag. 337 2. unifacial retouchedblades ("endscrapers") 18 3. miscl. 58 J. Blade ProductDebitage 5,605 (1.49Wo) 1. unilateralnotched blade segments 5,363 2. bilateralnotched blade segments 133 3. lateralflaked blade segments 109 K. PrismaticBlade Cores 3,102 (0.83So) 1. whole 473 2. frag. 2,629 a. proximal 947 b. medial 765 c . distal 917 L. Miscellaneous Core Fragments 2,770 (0.74Wo) 1. rim fragments 312 2. distal flakes 974 3. tablets 318 4. miscl. fragments 1,166 M. PercussionCores 177 (O.O5Wo) 1. whole 1 2. frag. 176 N. Bifaces 35 (O.OlSo) 1. whole 3 2. frag. 32 O. Unifaces on Large Blades or Flakes 134 (0.04Wo) P. AlternateFlakes 40 (0.01Wo) Q. ThinningFlakes 3,272 (0.87Wo) R. PrimaryDecorticationFlakes 47 (0.01Wo) S. SecondaryDecorticationFlakes 2,493 (0.66No) T. EraillureFlakes 374 (O. OSo) l U. Unclassified Flakes with Platforms 34,628 (9.23Wo) V . Macroflakes 14 (0.01So ) W. Chunks 840 (0.22Wo) TOTAL MACROSCOPIC SPECIMENS
X. Shatter 125,746 TOTAL SPECIMENS 501,034
About 83% of the collection is green in color and undoubtedly comes from the Cruz del Milagro (Pachuca) source, given its proximity (FIG. 1) and its prior identification at Tula.23 The remainder is predominantly grey and probably comes from a number of sources, including Zinapecuaro, Michoacan (a major source of the grey obsidian recovered by the Missouri project), and Otumba, Mexico (FIG. 1).24 Trace-element analysis will be undertaken in the near future. Kerley performed separate tabulations of green and non-green obsidian in order to determine if obsidian from Pachuca versus other sources
23. Thomas Hester, Robert Jack, and Alice Benfer, "Trace Element Analysis of Obsidian from Michoacan, Mexico," CARFC 18 (1973) 167-176. 24. Ibid.
was handleddifferentlyin the workshop about which moreis said below.
Input, Reduction Technology, Output
About 75% of the tabulatedobsidian, or 375,288 pieces, consistsof macroscopic pieces thatconstitute categoriesA-W in Table2; the remainder comprisea single category designated shatter, whichconsistsof smallflakes andfragments were mostlyrecoveredfromscreened that levels. We intendto examinethe shatter category more in detail during the second stage of the analysis. In the following discussion, categories A-W will be collectivelyreferred as the macroscopic collection, to which to most of our remarkswill be directed. Because only a smallandnonrandom of the excavation screened, part was we haveomittedthe shatter categoryfromthe percentage calculations.
138 Excavcation an ObsidianWorkshop Tula,MexicolHealan, of in Kerley, and Bey
Approximately 89% of the macroscopic collection beTABLE 2). The remainder, which comprise about 54% of longs to categories that are clearly derived from core/ the macroscopic collection, are collectively called irregblade reduction (A-M, TABLE 2). Though the remainder ularpressureblades(D, TABLE 2). Besides their irregular include some flake categories that could have derived form, remnantpercussion blade scars are frequently seen from biface manufacture, not a single unfinished biface over all or part of their dorsal surface. Our own expereject was recovered; the few whole and fragmentary rience in blade-core replication indicates that most of bifaces found were all finished products. Hence we are these comprise the first removals of pressure blades from almost certainly dealing with an exclusively core/blade a macrocore. During this process the macrocore is transworkshop. formed from a generally conical form with wide, irregThe virtual absence of macrodebitage associated with ular blade scars or flutes to a commonly bullet-shaped "roughing out" cores from raw obsidian indicates that form with narrow, parallel flutes that ensure subsequent some type of prefabricated core or preform constituted removal of typical prismatic blades. Given their predomthe workshop input. Our data indicate that these were inance in the collection, irregular pressure blades must percussion macrocores TABLE 2),25 or large poly(M, have been considered waste and not utilized, though the hedral cores, usually with a conical or pyramidal shape, latter assumption awaits confirmation through wear analbearing percussion blade scars on their face. ysis. Within this category is a distinctive subcategory, A distinctive core preparationactivity at the workshop first seriespressureblades(D3, TABLE 2), which represent involved percussion flaking of the macrocore to produce the very first blade removals by pressure from percussion a multifaceted platform. The resulting plaMorm faceting macrocores. While Healan had suspected the existence flakes TABLE 2) constitute about 15% of the macro(B, of such a subcategory on the basis of fragmentarysurface scopic collection. These flakes are easily distinguishable material examined during preliminary surface reconnaisby their perpendicular platform representing a remnant sance of the locality in 1979, it was first defined and blade scar on the macrocore face; their flat, thin cross named by John E. Clark of the New World Archaeologsection; and the radial pattem of remnant flake scars on ical Foundation using data from replicative experiments their dorsal surface. Their high frequency in the collecand analysis of core/blade debitage from Chiapas. Clark, tion is surprising, considering that cores and blades with who generously made his data available to us during multifacetedplatforms are extemely rare at Tula. Healan visits to our laboratoryin 1980, defined this subcategory and Kerley believe that platform faceting was a prelimon the basis of distinctive attributes of length, shape, inary step in producing the ground platform that typifies dorsal scars, and mode of termination. Similar blades the prismatic core/blade industry at Tula. Faceting and have been produced in our own replicative work. The subsequentgrinding of the macrocore platform must have first pressure blades do not run the full length of the constituted the first steps of the workshop reduction secore, hence percussion blade scars will remain on the quence, since little core-derived debitage with other than distal portion of the core until later rinds of pressure ground platforms was recovered. blades are removed. These later pressure blades, thereAside from platform faceting flakes, percussion debfore, possess remnant percussion blade scars at their disitage is in strikingly low frequency26in the macroscopic tal end, providing a means of further subdividing the collection, which implies that virtually all subsequent irregular pressure blade category according to order of core reduction involved the use of pressure rather than removal. A large number of whole and fragmentary prismatic percussion. This is not to say, however, that prismatic blade removal followed immediately. Of the 249,348 blade cores were recovered (K, TABLE 2). Most were exhausted or in an advanced stage of reduction, and closer pressure blades so far tabulated in the collection, only about 18% possess the distinctive parallel margins and examination will probably reveal the reasons for disdorsal ridges characteristicof typical prismatic blades (E, carding the unexhausted cores. We also identified several categories of core fragments which probably include pieces derived from error recovery or core rejuvenation 25. Thomas Hester, "Notes on Large Blade Cores and Core/Blade Technology in Mesoamerica," CARFC (1972) 9S-105; John Clark, 13 (L, TABLE 2). It is likely that the category for irregular "A Macrocore in the Regional Museum in Tuxtla Guiterrez, Chiapas, pressureblades also contains specimens of errorrecovery. Mexico,'' LT 6 (1977) 30-32; Robin Torrence, "Macrocore ProducCounting whole and proximal (platform) fragments, a tion at the Melos Obsidian Quarries," LT 8 (1979) S1-60. minimum of 1,420 individual prismatic blade cores are 26. The majority of the percussion blades in category C of Table 2 represented. Undoubtedly, additional cores are repreare from levels examined at the very beginning of the sorting operasented by the core fragments in category L of Table 2, tion. Kerley now believes that many of these so-called "percussion perhaps as many as 300 or more. Hence we estimate that blades" are in fact misidentified irregular pressure blades, and these levels will be re-examined to determine whether or not they are. as many as 1,720, but not less than 1,420, prismatic
Journal of Field ArchaeologylVol. 10, 1983 blade cores are represented in that part of the collection that has been analyzed to date. About 2% of the macroscopic collection pertains to the manufacture of products from prismatic blades (I, J, TABLE 2). Only two kinds of blade products and associated debitage occur with sufficient frequency to indicate they were regularly manufactured at the workshop: trilobal eccentrics and unifacially retouched blades, or ''endscrapers on blades". Trilobal eccentrics are small, ''3"-shaped forms common at Tula and Teotihuacan;27 the trilobal element is a common motif in bIesoamerican iconography believed to be part of Tlaloc symbolism representing drops of water, blood, or other fluid, but the function of these obsidian facsimilies is not known. We recovered a sufficient number of rejects to permit a tentative reconstruction of the manufacturing sequence, which essentially involves pressure flaking of notched prismatic blade segments. It should be noted that the blade product debitage categories consist entirely of rejects, which would account for only a small proportion of debitage from the production of blades; undoubtedly, the majority consists of very small pressure flakes that would escape recovery even in screened levels (though some might be identified during microdebitage analysis of soil samples). It is likely, therefore, that the magnitude of the manufacture of blades in the workshop is far greater than the macroscopic collection would suggest. In Table 3 we have attempted to estimate the total number of individual blades represented by the whole and fragmentaryspecimens.28 These estimates were then divided by the estimated number of prismatic blade cores in the collection (1,720) to derive a blade:core ratio for each category. Assuming the collection is a reptesentative sample of the workshop assemblage, if the workshop were consuming all of its own output (a null hypothesis), we would expect the blade:core ratio for each blade category to be consistent with ratios obtained during core reduction. The extremely low blade:core ratios for decortication blades probably reflect the degree of refinement of macrocores entering the workshop (but see the discussion of source differences below). The equally low ratio for first series pressure blades probably reflects an
27. Terrance Stocker and Michael Spence, "Trilobal Eccentrics at Teotihuacan and Tula," AmAnt 38 (1973) 195-199. 28. Two differrent methods were used to estimate the number of individual blades represented by the fragmentary specimens. In Table 3 the maximum estimates were obtained simply by assuming that at the least, two blade fragments equal one whole blade; this is almost certainly too liberal an estimate, since many blades probably broke into more than two macroscopic pieces. The second method, which produced the minimum estimates in Table 3, involved calculating the average weight of whole blades for each category and dividing the total weight of the fragmentary specimens by that figure; this worked out to about 3.5 fragments per whole blade.
Table3. Estimated numberof individual pressure bladesin the collectionand associatedblade:core ratios.
Estimated mlnlmumand maximumnumber of individual blades: Estimated mlnlmumand maximumnumber of blades per core:
D. Irregular PressureBlades 1. primary decortication 2. secondary decortication 3. first series 4. general TOTAL E. Prlsmatlc Blades
1903-3331 4379-6185 55322-94696 61609-104212 13149-22915
1-2 2-4 32-55 35-61 7-13
inabilitysystematically distinguishthese blades from to generalirregular pressureblades. Takenas a whole, the estimate 35-61 irregular of pressure bladespercoreseems to fall within the expected range based upon our own experience,though Healanbelieves that the lower end of thisrangeis moreappropriate a skilledblademaker. for On the other hand, a strikingdiscrepancy exists in the extremelylow ratioof prismatic bladesto cores of 13:1 at most;even if the moreconservative estimation 1,420 of cores were used, this ratio would only increaseto 16 bladesper core at most. Ourown experienceandthatof othersindicatesthatan averageprismatic bladecore can produce 100 or more prismaticblades; hence at least 85%of the expectedprismaticblade yield of these discardedcores is missing, and presumably the workleft shop as unmodified blades or blade products. We notedabove thatabout83%of the obsidianin the collection is green, presumablyfrom Pachuca, and in fact green obsidianwas predominant all but one of in the categorieslisted in Table 2. There is considerable variation,however, in the proportion green obsidian of across the categorieswhich ranges from 93% to 47% (TABLE 4); furthermore Table4 demonstrates, as this variation is clearly patterned.Categorieswith the highest proportions green obsidianare those thatderivefrom of the final stages of the reductionsequencein the workshop- the productionof prismatic blades and blade products- and clusteraround90%. On the otherhand, the lowest proportions green obsidianare those cateof goriesthatderivefromthe initialstagesof the reduction sequence-macrocore trimmingand platformpreparation. What,then, is the trueproportion greenobsidian of processedat the workshop,and why is there such vari-
140 Excavationof an ObsidianWorkshop Tula,MexicolHealan, in Kerley,and Bey
Table4. Percentage green obsidianamongthe artifact of categoriesin Table 2, rankedfrom highestto lowest. Asteriskindicatescategoriesin which whole and fragmentary specimenshave been merged.
Percent Category Non-green Green green
F3. Miscl. prismaticblade errors I3. Miscl. blade products I1 . Trilobaleccentrics* L2. Distal core flakes K1 . Whole prismaticblade cores K2c. Distal prismaticblade core frags. J1 . Unilateralnotched blade segments F2. Prismaticblade bending fractures J2. Bilateralnotched blade segments E. Prismaticblades* K2b. Medial prismaticblade core frags. L4. Miscl. core frags. K2a. Proximalprismaticblade core frags. F1 . Plunging prismaticblades J3. Lateralflaked blade segments I2. Unifacial retouchedblades A. Macroblades L3. Core tablets
2 4 34 78 40 78 487 18 13 4507 80 122
H. D3. T.
L1 . N. B.
D2. R. D1 .
Percussionblades* Unifaces on large blades or flakes General irregularpressureblades* Shatter Percussioncore frags. Alternateflakes Primarycrested blades Unclassified flakes wlplatforms Secondarycrested blades First series pressureblades* Eraillureflakes Macroflakes Thinningflakes Chunks Core rim frags. Bifaces* Platformfaceting flakes Secondarydecorticationflakes Secondarydecorticationblades Primarydecorticationflakes Primarydecoitication blades
12 2 4 41 1604 20 28942 21055 30 7 205 6719
2076 80 3 730 198 78
29 54 412 896 433 839 4876 172 120 41194 685 1044 847 878 97 16 31 277 10386 114 157626 104691 146 33 949 27909 414 8325 294
93.5 93.1 92.4 92.0
91.5 91.5 90.9 90.5
14695 683 1912
2542 642 234 26 42293 1810 4749 32 8
89.5 89.5 89.4 89.3 89.0 88.9 88.6 87.1 86.6 85.1 84.5 83.3 83 0 82.5 82.2 80.6 80.4 80.0 78.6 78.6 77.7 76.4 75.0 74.3 74.2 72.6 71.3 68.1 47.1
ation in this proportion between categories?Given the coherentpatternof variationindicatedand the size of our collection, it is unlikely that this variationis due simplyto chance. In Table 5, the frequenciesof green and non-green obsidianfor each categorylisted in Table 4 have been divided our minimal by estimation the number green of of and non-greenprismaticblade cores represented the in collection(140 and 1,280 cores, respectively)to derive
a count of the number of pieces of debitage per core by color for each category. This is not intended to represent an estimation of number of individuals per core for each category, as was done for pressure blades in Table 3, simply because we are at present unable to estimate number of individuals for many of the fragmentarynon-blade categories. Rather, these counts of debitage per core are intended to provide a means of comparing the amount of debitage generated by green versus non-green core
Journal of Field ArchaeologylVol. 10, 1983 Table5. Numberof pieces per core of green and non-green obsidianamongthe core/bladeartifact categoriesof Table 4, rankedby per-corepredominance non-green of obsidianfromleast to most. Number piecesper of prismatic bladecore
F3. I3. I1 . L2. J1 . F2. J2. E. L4. F1 . J3. I2. A. L3.
H. D3. T.
L1 . B.
D2. R. D1 .
Miscl. prismaticblade errors Miscl. blade products Trilobal eccentrics Distal core flakes Unilateralnotched blade segments Prismaticblade bending fractures Bilateral notched blade segments Prismaticblades Miscl. core frags. Plunging prismaticblades Lateralflaked blade segments Unifacial retouchedblades Macroblades Core tablets Percussion blades General irregularpressureblades Shatter Percussioncore frags. Alternateflakes Primarycrested blades Unclassified flakes w/platforms Secondarycrested blades First series pressureblades Eraillureflakes Macroflakes Thinning flakes Chunks Core rim frags. Platformfaceting flakes Secondarydecorticationflakes Secondarydecorticationblades Primarydecorticationflakes Primarydecorticationblades
Non-green 0.01 0.03 0.24 0.56 3.48 0.13
Green 0.02 0.04 0.32 0.70 3.81 0.13
0.6:1 0.7:1 0.8:1 0.8:1
0.9:1 1.0:1 1.0:1 1.0:1 1.1:1 1.1:1 1.1:1 1.1:1
32.19 0.87 0.75 0.09
32.18 0.82 0.69 0.08
0.03 0.29 11.46 206.73 150.39 0.21 0.05 1.46 47.99 0.72 14.83 0.57 0.02 5.21 1.41 0.56 104.96 4.88 13.66 0.11 0.06
0.02 0.22 8.11 123.14 81.79 0.11 0.03 0.74 21.80 0.32 6.50 0.23 0.01 1.99 0.50 0.18 33.04 1.41 3.71 0.02 0.01
1.2:1 1.4:1 1.4:1 1.7:1 1.8:1
2.0:1 2.2:1 2.2:1 2.3:1 2.5:1 2.5:1 2.6:1 2.8:1 3.0:1 3.2:1 3.4:1 3.7:1 4.3:1 10.3:1
reduction for each category, on the assumption that the relative proportions of discarded green and non-green prismatic blade cores in the collection approximate the true proportions of green and non-green cores that were reduced at the workshop. We stress that these are meaningless quantities, except for comparison of green and non-green debitage counts per core within the same category. This comparison is aided in Table S by the calculation of a ratio expressing the degree of similarity between the counts.29
29. Our estimations of 140 non-green and 1,280 green prismatic blade cores were obtained by counting the number of whole and proximal fragments of prismatic blade cores of each color in Table 4; this is, of course, our minimal estimation of 1,420 cores. Given that it is not
What is immediately apparent in Table S is that the variation in the proportion of green obsidian is in fact caused by a disproportionately greater amount of nongreen obsidian in all debitage categories except those that pertain to the final stages of the workshop reduction sequence. For most of these categories of "final stages", the quantity of debitage per core for non-green and green
the absolute values of the piece per core counts themselves, but rather the degree of similarity between the green and non-green counts for each category that is of interest here, in fact, any one or combination of the core categories (K and L) in Table 4, except for L1, could have been used as the denominator and would have produced counts having the same similarity ratios as those in Table 5. This is because all of these categories have about the same proportion of green obsidian (roughly 90%), as noted in Table 4.
142 Excavationof an ObsidianWorkshop Tula,MexicolHealan, in Kerley, and Bey
obsidian is nearlyidentical,and in fact is perfectly so in the case of prismatic blades. This would suggest, perhaps not surprisingly, that the average green and nongreen cores produce the same numberof prismaticblades. On the other hand, for the earlier stages of the workshop reduction sequence, particularlythe earliest stages, there is a considerably greater quantity of non-green obsidian per core than green obsidian. This circumstance suggests that macrocores arriving from sources other than Pachuca required more preparatory reduction to become "ready" prismaticblade cores. If so, the quantitiescould reflect differences in the inherent workability of different types of obsidian, or perhaps lax production standardsat quarry workshops other than Pachuca; Healan suggests it could as well reflect differences in the geological occurrence of obsidian at these sources, perhaps the fabrication of macrocores from nodules instead of blocky flow fragments, the latter typical of raw material seen at the Pachuca quarries today. In general, we believe that the proportion of green obsidian in the "final stages" categories, roughly 90%,3° represents the true proportion of green obsidian entering the workshop, and that the disproportionately greater amount of initial preparation of non-green macrocores accounts for the lower overall proportion of green obsidian in the collection. We noted that at least 1,420 prismatic blade cores and concomitant blades and blade products were produced at the workshop. This is obviously nowhere near the total output, since only part of the workshop was excavated, but we are not prepared to estimate total output at this time. It is importantto note that only a small portion of a single complex was exposed; indeed, approximately 55% of the 375,288 pieces that constitute the macroscopic collection came out of onlyfive 3-m. squares and two l-m. pits in the refuse dump! Given that this figure constitutes a very small proportion of a refuse dump that spans the entire length of the area between ridges A and B, total workshop output would undoubtedly number in the tens of thousands for prismatic blade cores alone. A problem in defining the output of one workshop lies in distinguishing the debitage boundaries of one workshop, since only the habitation compounds would define discrete entities, and the refuse dump may have been used by workshops along both ridges. A number of as yet unstudied implements of bone, antler, and stone were recovered, some of which were almost certainly used in obsidian working. We recovered numerous antler tines, for example, several of which have minute flakes of obsidian embedded in them. Some
30. This agrees with Spence's figures for Teotihuacan, as he notes that the frequency of green obsidian in core/blade workshops there was "rarely less than 90%"; cf. Spence, op. cit. (in note 5) 777.
of the bone implements, including fragments of rods and points, are slightly burned and polished, perhaps a hardening technique. Some of these points may have been used in the removal of blades by pressure, but this is at present only speculation. Stone implements include small hammerstones and abraiders, but it is not yet certain that any of these were used to work obsidian. We hope that microscopic examination for wear and residue will be of value in making this determination. Ceramic Chronology Bey has recently completed a typological classification of the pottery from the excavations that provides a general chronological framework, pending submission of radiocarbon and obsidian hydration specimens for dating in the near future. Though tabulation is not complete, over 133,000 sherds were recovered from our excavations. Bey's classification is based upon Cobean's extensive study3l of the pre-Aztec pottery of Tula that was based upon the Missouri project's residential excavations and the urban survey, and selected test pits of the INAH project from near Tula Chico (FIG. 2). Bey's classification places the entire workshop occupation within the Tollan phase (TABLE 1): less than 200 Aztec sherds and less than 50 sherds of the Corral and earlier phases have so far been tabulated. During the classification process, however, Bey noted a ratherhigh frequency of Mazapa Red on Brown or "Wavy Line Mazapan", a type previously found only rarely at Tula32 and assigned by Cobean to the preceding Terminal Corral phase (TABLE 1). In a trial seriation of pottery from selected levels of our excavation, Bey noted that Mazapa sherds tend to occur in greatest frequency in lower stratigraphic levels, but always as an integral part of an otherwise essentially Tollan phase assemblage. In comparing these atypical levels with those having a more typical Tollan phase assemblage, Bey noted two other differences: 1) the "atypical'' levels had unusually low frequencies of the most common and diagnostic Tollan phase type, JarraPolished Orange or "Naranja a Brochazos"; 2) subtle but consistent modal differences occurred between sherds of the same type from "atypical" and "typical" levels, most notably differences in surface finish of certain cream-slipped wares.
31. Cobean, op. cit. (in note 11). 32. Ironically, Mazapa Red on Brown is commonly thought to be the diagnostic pottery type of the Early Postclassic period at Tula, hence the frequent reference to Toltec Tula as ''Mazapan" or a "Mazapan'' period or phase at Tula. Cobean notes that this potteIy is indeed common in Early Postclassic and Terminal Classic sites in the Basin of Mexico, but at Tula, the dominant Early Postclassic pottery consists of orange and cream, rather than red on brown, wares. Cf. Cobean, op. cit. (in note 11) 396-399.
Journal of Field ArchaeologylVol. 10, 1983 Bey hypothesized that these quantitative and qualitative differences are diachronic, and provide a means to subdivide the Tollan phase into early and late subphases. The ceramics of the "typical" levels represent the late or fully developed Tollan-phase ceramic assemblage that dominates the archaeological record at the site and represents Tula's apogee and period of maximum expansion. Conversely, the ceramics of the "atypical" levels represent an early subphase marked by the initial appearance of the Tollan-phase ceramic assemblage alongside a continuation of the ceramic tradition of the preceding Terminal Corral phase. Given the rarity of Mazapa sherds at Tula, the Early Tollan subphase must predate Tula's urban expansion. Bey has found supporting evidence for an early/late subdivision of the Tollan phase in a study of ceramics from nine rural sites of the Tollan phase in the Tula region, one of which displays a ceramic assemblage comparable to the "atypical" levels of our excavation; i.e., the presence of significant numbers of types of the Terminal Corral phase in an otherwise Tollan-phase assemblage in which Jarra Polished Orange is significantly low in frequency. The subdivision of the 250-year-long Tollan phase is an exciting prospect, for it would provide finer chronological control over the most spectacularperiod of Tula's history. This would have importantramifications for our workshop site, since it would therefore have been settled at the beginning of the Tollan phase prior to the city's expansion, and was probably continuously occupied for the remainderof the life of the Toltec city. It is important to note that the ceramic sequence at the workshop so far shows continuous ratherthan discontinuous change from the early to late subphases, which is also suggested by the stratit,raphicdata discussed above. The presence of Mazapa Red on Brown in significant quantities may have further ramifications, as discussed below. Preliminary Assessment We must stress the tentative nature of our findings, based as they are upon incomplete analysis. A number of significantpoints have been raised, however, that have important ramifications for other research. In conclusion, we want to discuss the implications of our preliminary findings for the study of Mesoamerican core/blade technology and the study of obsidian workshops at Tula and elsewhere. The exclusively core/blade industry at our workshop is in part a reflection of the dominance of prismaticblades and blade products among obsidian artifact assemblages in Mesoamerica, but is also a function of the relatively specialized item or workshop input, percussion macrocores, rather than raw obsidian. Workshops that im-
ported raw obsidian obviously had considerable latitude in their reduction strategies; even in core/blade reduction, some of the macrodebitage derived from initial stages of core formation make suitable blanks for bifacial reduction.33Much of the debitage from initial core formation, however, is waste: decortication, irregularities, flaws, and the like, and the transportationof raw obsidian over long distances, as in the case of Tula, would be less efficient than performing these initial reduction steps at the quarries. The workshop was involved in the full range of core/ blade reduction activities except for the initial stages of core formation, and their absence has helped clarify subsequent stages of core preparation prior to prismaticblade removal. Aside from platform preparation, virtually all core reduction at our workshop involved the use of pressure, not percussion, but this should not be taken to mean that the imported macrocores were virtually ready for prismatic blade removal. In our own experience with making prismatic blade cores from scratch, percussion was necessary to shape the raw material, which normally includes establishing a platform, establishing the first blade scars or flutes on the core face, and removing troublesomeirregularities anomalies from the core face. or Beyond this point, further percussion trimming accomplishes little except the waste of potentialprismaticblades; the shift, therefore, from percussion to pressure should occur as early as possible to maximize prismatic blade yield. Percussion is not used to establish the straight, parallel ridges on the core face that make prismatic blade removal possible; this is done entirely by pressure, as evidenced by the predominance of irregular pressure blades in our collection that are derived from this process. We believe that the significance of irregularpressure blades as defining a stage of core/blade reduction (ratherthan simply representing "duds" or substandard blades produced during prismatic blade removal) has not previously been appreciated, and we caution that the absence of percussion blades at a workshop site does not necessarily mean that "ready" prismaticblade cores were being imported. John Clark34has argued that the study of Mesoamerican obsidian technology must consider source differences as an agent of technological variability, and our data supportthis. Our data demonstratethat considerably more preparationof non-green than green cores was necessary, which included decortication, platform faceting, and preliminary (irregular) blade removal by pressure.
33. Sheets, 1975 op. cit. (in note 21) fig. 3. 34. JohnClark,"A Specialized Obsidian Quarry Otumba, at Mexico: Implications the Studyof Mesoamerican for TechnologyandTrade," LT 8 ( 1979) 46-49.
144 Excavationof an ObsidianWorkshop Tula,MexicolHealan, in Kerley,and Bey We have not yet establishedwhetherthis was because of differencesin the source materialor in activitiesof quarry workshopsat the differentsources. We stressthatour appraisal the workshopindustry of is basedupona preliminary categorization, thatmore and detailedattribute analysisof these categoriesis now underway.We anticipate the resultof this secondanalthat ysis will greatlyexpandour knowledgeof variousparts of the reductionsequence, includingplatformgrinding, errorrecovery, and the manufacture various blade of products. The areasampledby excavationhas been interpreted as a lineararrangement residentialcompoundscomof prisingtwo low ridges (FIG. 3, A, B) which flank a (common?) refuse dumpingarea; if the results of Healan's preliminary microscopic examination soil samplesare of accurate,the actualplaces of manufacture were in the open areabetweenthe habitation compoundand the refuse dump.Eachcompoundprobably houseda series of related nuclearfamilies that were probablyrelated to those of adjacentcompoundsas well. It is likely that such a configuration representsa corporateresidential entity or barrio,one which was heavily engagedin obsidian working.The presenceof a ceremonialstructure at the end of ridge A, presumably neighborhood a temple, also suggests a relativelyself-contained residential entity. We anticipate that furtherstudy of the domestic artifacts, including utilitarianpottery, figurines, and faunalremains,will shedfurther lightuponthe domestic realmof the workshop. How far beyond the immediateexcavationarea can this patternbe extended?Based upon informalsurface survey,a similarconfiguration almostcertainlyexists in the next field to the north, where at least three ridges and artifact-rich, interridgeareas are evident. Further north, surfaceobsidiandiminishesin density, forming the northern limits of the "east flank" concentration. South of the excavationarea, the terrainhas been considerablydisturbed the construction roads, irrigaby of tion ditches, pipelines, a quarry,and a new highway, and it is possiblethatthe concentration of CerroE1 east Cielito is a continuation the "east flank" concentraof tion beyond the disturbed zone (FIG. 2). East of the excavationarea,the high surfaceconcentration obsidian of continuesfor at least half a kilometer,and includesassociated topographicfeatures indicative of collapsed structures; fact, we had consideredan alternative in excavationsite in this area that consisted of an obsidian concentration alongsidea moundthathad been cut by a ditch, revealingsuperposed floors and structural walls. In summary,our informalsurfacesurvey suggests that the "east flank" concentration comprisesan areaat least 0.5 km. in diameter,withinwhich is found a consistent
pattern of topographic rises and high surface concentrations of obsidian and other artifacts that probably define a continuous zone of workshop complexes like that which we partially exposed. Survey data from the Missouri and INAH projects revealed three other characteristics common to the "east flank" concentration, all of which were observed in our excavation: 1) a predominance of core/ blade debitage; 2) a predominance of green obsidian (a higher proportion than observed in the other concentrations); 3) relatively large quantities of Mazapa Red on Brown, a pottery type that is rare throughout much of the urban zone. Finally, we would like to consider what the available data indicate about the occupation history of the locality and perhaps the entire 44eastflank" concentration. Our ceramic data suggest that the locality was settled around the beginning of the Tollan phase, prior to Tula's major expansion. Stratigraphicdata indicate that at the time of initial occupation, the locality was marginal land, a barren, eroded terrain. Perhaps its marginal character was an inducementto locating obsidian workshops there, since it would have had little or no agriculturalvalue.35 Given the present estimation of Tula's extent before expansion,36 the east flank of E1 Salitre lay outside the early community, though it was incorporated into the later city, as seen in Figure 2. We noted that the basis of the early Tollan-phase dating of the initial settlement of our workshop is the presence of large amountsof MazapaRed on Brown, a pottery type that is rare throughout all except the southeastern extreme of the urban site;37no other pottery type has this distibution. Cobean has noted that Mazapa Red on Brown is most common in Terminal Classic and Early Postclassic sites in the Basin of Mexico, particularly the Teotihuacan Valley,38and suggested that "it is at least possible that the sections of Tula's urban zone with the highest amounts of Mazapa Red on Brown were inhabited by a different social or ethnic group from the rest of the urban zone, or that these sections had some different economic function."39 It is tempting to speculate that the workshop zone may have been settled by newcomers from the Basin of Mexico and the Teotihuacan Valley, which would
35. Ironically, today this is one of the most agriculturally productive areas in Tula, in large part because of the thick, organically rich refuse and construction fill that resulted from the prehispanic occupation. 36. Stoutamire, op. cit. (in note S) fig. 12; Diehl, op. cit. 1981 (in note 10) 282. 37. Stoutamire, op. cit. (in note 5) 68-69, fig. 13. 38. Cobean, op. cit. (in note 11) 393. This type was named for San Francisco Mazapa, a locality within the site of Teotihuacan, where it was first reported. 39. Cobean, op. cit. (in note 11) 391-392.
Journal of Field ArchaeologylVol. 10, 1983 indicate a continuity with the earlier Teotihuacan obsidian exploitation system far more direct than previously imagined. The fact that this pottery occurred alongside, and gradually gave way to, more common types of the Tollan phase suggests an eventual absorption of these peoples into Tula's cultural mainstream. At present this is speculation, but it poses a fascinating question that merits furtherexploration, if the origin and development of Tula's obsidian industry is to be placed in its proper regional and historical perspective.40
40. The Tulane University excavations at Tula were funded by a major grant from the National Science Foundation (BNS 79-24754), with the authorization of the Consejo de Arqueologia del Instituto Nacional de Antropologia e Historia de Mexico. In addition to those persons previously cited, we wish to acknowledge the advice and moral support provided by Robert H. Cobean of the University of Missouri Research Reactor Facility, the technical expertise of Terry Stocker, who is analyzing the ceramic figurines recovered from our excavation, and the amistadof the people of Tula de Allende, Hidalgo, particularly Sr. and Sra. Cuauhtemoc Baptista Cravioto. Figures 1-5 were prepared by Dan M. Healan.
Dan M. Healan is a memberof thefaculty of the and Department Anthropology ResearchAssociateof of the MiddleAmericanResearchInstitute,Tulane University. is Director of Tulane'sarchaeological He projectat Tula, and his specific interestsand responsibilities the project includelithic for analysis, and technology,architectural stratigraphic methodsand data processing. and quantitative JanetM. Kerleyis a graduatestudentin the TulaneUniversity.She Department Anthropology, of has servedas a field crew supervisorand as lithics analystfor the Tulaneproject at Tula, and is currently conducting technologicalanalysis of the obsidian a artifacts from Tulaas part of her doctoraldissertation. GeorgeJ. Bey III is a graduatestudentin the He TulaneUniversity. Department Anthropology, of has servedas a field crew supervisorand as ceramics analystfor the Tulaneproject at Tula. His doctoral dissertation researchis concernedwithprehispanic and change in the Tula region. ceramiccontinuity